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Movies Losing Popularity at Box Office 795

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the good-scripts-also-lost dept.
andyring writes "Without the slightest mention of piracy, the MPAA said box-office revenues declined by 8 percent last year. About 40 percent of the decline came from the U.S. Now if only they'd realize that the decline is from movies sucking more than my shop vac." It's been a while since a film warranted spending the money to watch it in a room full of strangers.
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Movies Losing Popularity at Box Office

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  • Why Movies Suck (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:42PM (#14887053) Homepage Journal

    Really. There's jibes all over in the press about it. Most of the films in the past year I spent my money on were at a place like this [thenick.com].

    Why?

    Because I've seen it all before, now they're re-doing it all and nothing surprises me. Then I go to the Del Mar or The Nick and see something

    • See a story which is either deeply thoughtful or genuinely entertaining.
    • I have no idea where the story is going.
    • See really good acting.
    • See a production done so well I forget for a moment I'm actually watching it on a screen.
    • Suprising. Innocent Voices, that was an eye opener. Amelie, that was a charmer. Run Lola Run, that was just cool.
    Steve Martin in the recent remake of The Pink Panther is a prime example. I already have some idea where jokes are going, long before the punch. The acting isn't anywhere near as good as the first (Sellers may have been an ass, but he could act comedy.) Honestly. Steve Martin (The Spanish Prisoner) and Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda) are really capable of great acting, but this was pretty weak.

    I'm a real flim buff. You can tell. I take my own popcorn salt, rather than risk they'll have table salt shakers from SYSCO.

    Hey, get that guys post! i want to create a movie based upon it! car chases! beautiful women! huge fireball explosions! sophomoric humor! It'll be great!

    • by WilliamSChips (793741) <full...infinity@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:44PM (#14887070) Journal
      I'm a real flim buff
      There's a joke hiding just beneath the surface of that misspelling, but I can't figure out what it is!
    • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rlauzon (770025) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:59PM (#14887176)
      Because I've seen it all before, now they're re-doing it all and nothing surprises me.

      The reason for that is that they have choked off the supply of works going in to the public domain. Historically, Hollywood has dipped into the public domain for ideas. Nothing new into the public domain = nothing new in Hollywood.

      Little wonder that Anime and Manga are getting more popular.

      • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:08PM (#14887241) Homepage Journal
        The reason for that is that they have choked off the supply of works going in to the public domain. Historically, Hollywood has dipped into the public domain for ideas. Nothing new into the public domain = nothing new in Hollywood.

        There's still buckets of stuff in the public domain. That said, there were a lot of great movies made of stuff copyrighted, like Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz. I just think they've got some twisted idea that they won't take a risk. I think Heinlein's Tunnel In The Sky would make a killer film, but not with the calibre of actors I've seen cropping up lately. Lord knows they did a real job on Starship Troopers.

        • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:5, Interesting)

          by rlauzon (770025) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:18PM (#14887329)
          There's still buckets of stuff in the public domain.

          Most of which has been already used in something "new" that is still under copyright, making it a risk to use.

          Last estimate showed that 80% of the currently available works are still under copyright but have no known owners.

          I think Heinlein's Tunnel In The Sky would make a killer film

          Agreed. But who owns the copyright? Heinlein's been dead for nearly 20 years.

          Also, Hollywood doesn't want to pay for writing. Disney, for example, timed their version of Peter Pan so that it wouldn't come out until the story passed into the public domain.

        • by martinX (672498) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @09:41PM (#14888104)
          I really liked the Starship Troopers movie.

          I'm sorry. I'll go away now.
        • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Scarletdown (886459) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @09:46PM (#14888124) Journal
          There's still buckets of stuff in the public domain.


          And some of the studios do still draw on PD material.

          http://imdb.com/title/tt0401729/ [imdb.com]

          I sincerely hope the title in the above link does actually become a reality on the big screen. And I hope that whatever studio is doing it doesn't completely fuck it up.

          This is something I've been waiting to see made into a movie (or series of movies) since I read the books back around 1980 or 1981.

          (And I hope whoever they cast as Dejah Thoris is just as hot as Burroughs described her in the first book.)

        • In all fairness, the name alone would've sunk the movie if nothing else. Starships are bands with identity crises, and troopers are what women call those little things running around at summer camp. Not very inspir(ed/ing).
        • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Insightful)

          by barefootgenius (926803) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:41PM (#14888388)
          I would prefer "Stranger in a Strange Land", "Friday" (is that the name) and "Time Enough For Love".

          However, I don't go to the movies. Why should I? People are noisy, its either to loud or quiet, I can't smoke, I can't stop it, I can't go to the toilet, and, finally, my arse goes to sleep.

      • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Sancho (17056) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:19PM (#14887337) Homepage
        I don't understand your argument. Hollywood already remakes films which are not in the public domain--if these films had fallen into PD, what difference would it make?

        The only thing I can think of is that people could reuse ideas without permission from the (ex)copyright holder, meaning that you wouldn't have the same mindset, groupthinking people remaking the same things over and over. Instead, you could have some people not affiliated with Hollywood using their ideas in something new and innovative--and given the movie theater's relationship with Hollywood, you'd never see these films on screen. You'd see them on the Internet, and that wouldn't help increase box office revenue.

        No, ultimately there are a large number of factors which are (probably) contributing to this decline. They've all been said over and over, but here they are again:

        * Bad movie theater experience (screaming kids, cellphones, etc.)
        * Increasing ticket prices
        * Lower quality movies, in general
        * Shorter DVD release times
        and quite likely the biggest factor:
        * The Internet.

        Not only is there a lot of legal, free video entertainment available on the Internet, there is also music, gaming, etc. That's not counting piracy (which is certainly rampant and might cut into Box Office revenue, but it's impossible to prove).

        There was a time when I could look at a 16-screen theater listing and pretty much tick off every one of them as a movie I'd seen /in/the/theater/. These days, between the crap they put in the theaters and the other legal entertainment options, it's not uncommon for me to look at a theater listing and have seen maybe one movie that's there.
        • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:36PM (#14887459) Homepage Journal
          Not only is there a lot of legal, free video entertainment available on the Internet, there is also music, gaming, etc.

          One other thing on the internet is instantaneous Communication with large audiences. Go to imdb and see a few comments and the film already rated and you just may change your mind about seeing it. Before the internet bad reviews got around on two legs.

        • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:3, Insightful)

          by thogard (43403)
          The real issue is that if you have to get permission for every song and every idea and every character name, someone is going to object to the way your putting it all together. When Disney Studios was new, they used an extensive collection of ideas from public domain stories with music that they didn't have to pay for. Even into the 1980's movies and TV shows didn't pay for music except for custom into music and that didn't pay very well.
        • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:53PM (#14887560) Homepage
          One factor you didn't mention, but which is part of the Internet: reviews. Reviews (and leaked information prior to a release) spread further, faster, and can be more personal (I trust my friends to tell me what I might like more than reviewers on TV or in the paper). If a movie is bad it's more likely to be found out sooner than later now. For example, word of mouth is considered to have caused the Hulk movie to drop ticket sales by 70% in one week, which is one of the most dramatic drops ever.
          • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:5, Insightful)

            by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @08:22PM (#14887732) Journal
            Yeah, but here's what I don't get... did anybody actually expect that movie to be good? I mean, usually it's obvious from a trailer whether a movie is going to suck or not. I can only think of a small handful of movies that really reeked where it wasn't immediately obvious just from the trailer and general background info that it was going to be a steaming pile of excrement.

            Of course, I only go to see about one movie out of every few hundred these days because it is almost always obvious that most movies are going to be steaming piles of excrement.

            No, the biggest problem with Hollywood is greed. Between then and the theater chains, the cost of a movie is absurd. $7.50 per person + $10 worth of refreshments comes out to a $25 date. Alternately, dinner at a fairly decent restaurant and BUYING a DVD of a two year old movie comes out to a $25 date. Which one is the better experience? Duh. I watched movies constantly when I could go to the early showing for $3.50. Now, it's over $5 and I've been to two movies in the last year, one of which was paid for by my employer. They priced themselves out of business.

            And greed is the problem with their plot lines, too. The cost of making movies is insanely high---in part because of outrageous costs for actors and actresses, outrageous equipment costs, outrageous film/processing/splicing costs, etc., but in part because they just over-produce the movies---which leads to production of far fewer movies, and thus, it is almost impossible to get into Hollywood screen writing, and even if you do, it probably won't pay the bills.

            The result, from what I can discern from the outside, is a relatively small talent pool that generally discourages new blood, which results in the same stale content being repeated over and over. Most (not all) of the wannabes who try to get into this pool tend not to be the best and brightest writers out there, as the best and brightest see that there's not a lot of hope of making money in the field, so they steer way clear and do something that will actually keep a roof over their heads.

            The only real solution for Hollywood is this: use no-name actors and actresses more, pay your writers better, spend less time and money on special effects, produce more movies on a lower budget each, and search far and wide for new talent to increase the diversity of your writer culture. If you don't, you will eventually fade into obsolescence.

            • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Interesting)

              by evildogeye (106313) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:45AM (#14888809) Homepage
              I completely disagree. I *always* want to go see movies, and I would be happy to pay $20 per ticket. I don't really care about money. I just want to see good movies. Lately, well for several years, actually, I haven't been interested in most of the movies that are out. It may be my fault for not looking close enough, of for getting too old, but either way, the reason I haven't gone to see movies is not because of price but because of lack of interest.
      • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 1u3hr (530656)
        The reason for that is that they have choked off the supply of works going in to the public domain. Historically, Hollywood has dipped into the public domain for ideas. Nothing new into the public domain = nothing new in Hollywood.

        That's just silly. Hollywood has no problem paying for ideas. They pay to do remakes of crap like The Dukes of Hazzard. For every movie produced, hundreds of scripts and books have been optioned. The ones that get finance are those the studios think have an audience. Obviously t

    • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Interesting)

      by stefanlasiewski (63134) * <slashdot@stef a n c o . com> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:02PM (#14887190) Homepage Journal
      The Nick is an exceptional theater for an exceptional town. There are many people in Santa Cruz who want to see the funky flicks.

      But leave the Santa Cruz Bubble and art houses like the Nick become incredibly rare-- they usually only show 1 movie a week. The Nick is showing 6 films this week. We arguably have a couple nice arty theaters in Berkeley, but they are plagued by loud people, cell phones, drunks, etc. (Students? I don't know).

      Even Santa Cruz is loosing their Art houses--- there used to be 5-6 funky arty movie houses in the area. I think they are all gone except for The Nick & the Del Mar, and the Del Mar nearly went bust a few years ago.
    • by kzinti (9651) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:17PM (#14887318) Homepage Journal
      Because I've seen it all before, now they're re-doing it all and nothing surprises me.

      Yeah, me too. Remember Gregory Peck and Jimmy Stewart in the 1952 version of "Brokeback Mountain". Now THAT was a classic. Nothing like that crappy remake that came out last year. WHAT was that studio thinking?
      • by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:28PM (#14887415) Homepage Journal
        Yeah, me too. Remember Gregory Peck and Jimmy Stewart in the 1952 version of "Brokeback Mountain". Now THAT was a classic. Nothing like that crappy remake that came out last year. WHAT was that studio thinking?

        Get ready for in a few years time:

        SLASHBACK MOUNTAIN

        They were nerds. They were there for new and stuff that mattered in their lives. One eventful evening they both confessed in anonymous postings a secret admiration for Jar Jar Binks. If the word got out, they'd be shamed and shunned, lives would be ruined, hearts would be broken...

      • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ErroneousBee (611028) <neil:neilhancock.c o . uk> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @08:22PM (#14887731) Homepage
        Its just a forbidden love story: Princess and the Pauper, Romeo and Juliet, Lolita, Lady Chatterley's Lover, etc etc.

        You just start with "Who isnt allowed to shag who in some parts of society" and take it from there. There have even been a couple of inter species ones, like Enemy Mine.
    • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:3, Insightful)

      by uncoveror (570620)
      Let's say the wife and I want to go out to a movie for the evening. Movie tickets are about $9.00 each. If we have drinks and a snack, plan about $7.00 each 18+14=32. 32 bucks for frivolous entertainment is a lot to blow when there are bills to pay, so there batter be something spectacular that makes it worth seeing on a big screen, or I'll wait for home video. Not only that, I know that the MPAA and the studios are going to use a lot of their profits to bribe Congress into passing even more draconian measu
    • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AnalogDiehard (199128) on Friday March 10, 2006 @01:47AM (#14888982)
      I saw a total of three movies in the theater the last ten years. I went to see King Kong only because I was going with a group of friends.

      Besides the poor material, the commercials are too long and the dynamics are too much. I hate sitting through ads before the movie, now that they run twenty minutes that was the breaking point. I will never go back. Movies are way too dynamic - street noises and crashes blast at you from the speakers, then the dialogue is so frigging soft you have to strain to hear it. The ears get fatigued fast.

      And I won't repeat the host of other reasons why the theater experience sucks today.

      DVDs solved many problems. I can zap the damn ads, and the audio output of my DVD player gets tamed by a compressor so that dynamics are flattened to a much more enjoyable level before they reach my stereo system. I don't want my speakers to get blown or my neighbors to be disturbed.

  • Simple formula (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:44PM (#14887069)
    [sarcasm] Ticket prices rising, movie quality decreasing = fewer ticket sales. Go figure [/sarcasm]
    • Re:Simple formula (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shitdrummer (523404) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:19PM (#14887334)
      Not to mention shit like this [smh.com.au] happening.

      Shitdrummer.
    • I have an alternative formula,

      Vast Profits = Mass ticket sales = Aim for lowest common denominator

      Recent failure at box office = Aimed too low = Aim higher next time

      Alternatively,

      Massive success at box office = Could we improve by aiming even lower?

      Hence the cyclical nature of Hollywood.

      Though of course the main reason box office sales have fallen is Home Cinema, why expend the excess energy travelling to the theatre, only to put up with monkeys and their cell phones / repellent smelling popcorn/sna
  • by adpowers (153922) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:44PM (#14887071)
    I think two of the people speaking were trying to convince the audience to go see movies in theatres, "There is nothing like being part of the a community and watching a great film on the giant silver screen" or whatever. This made me a little sick. I rarely see movies in theatres these days because the other viewers are often inconsiderate (mainly by being loud and obnoxious), the tickets are expensive, and the theatres are often of poor quality (dirty, bad sound, poor projection, etc.). For the price of sending two people to the theatre, you can buy the freakin' DVD in a few months (I'm very thankfully for the quicker DVD release turn around these days).
    • I have to agree with you. I used to *love* going to see movies but in the past few years I'd much rather wait for it on DVD and watch it from the peace and quiet of my home. It's just not worth it going to a theatre anymore expect for those rare releases you know you want to watch on a big screen.
    • by pizza_milkshake (580452) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:50PM (#14887103)
      don't forget all the extra ads they show in the trailers! nothing like paying $26 for yourself and a date to eat some popcorn and watch ads! oh wait, this is /., forget the date...
    • Agreed (Score:5, Funny)

      by mikeswi (658619) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:21PM (#14887354) Homepage Journal
      True Story:

      I go to the Carmike in Statesboro (35 mile drive) to watch I,Robot. Some assholes bring their 2? 3? year old kid with them and sit directly in front of me. By the time I realized this kid was going to make noise the whole time, there were no empty seats left. The kid starts making a racket as soon as the movie starts and never shuts up. She even started singing! People all over were staring at the kid instead of the screen, waiting for the parents to start acting like parents.

      You ignorant fucktards who bring small, noisy, untamed children to adult movies and don't keep them quiet are fucking assholes. What the hell is wrong with you people?

      "Oh Jesus Christ!", I yell, as I get up to find the manager. I let the manager know what's going on and he goes in and stands against a wall for about five minutes, watching them. Miraculously, they keep the kid's yap shut the whole time, so the manager sees no reason to ask them to leave. "Fine. You want to run a daycare center instead of a movie theater, that's fine. Give me my money back."

      Next day, I go to a smaller theater in Vidalia (25 mile drive) to watch it. So many people are lined up outside that it takes 20 minutes to get everyone in the door (they don't let you in without a ticket + they don't start selling tickets until 5 minutes before show time + only one ticket seller). Graciously, they hold off starting the movie until everyone is in (they did that for Star Wars III too).

      Fifteen minutes into the movie, THE PROJECTOR EATS THE FUCKING FILM! They handed out refunds and sent everyone home. GRRRRRRR.........

      The next day, I drove all the damn way to Savannah (80+ miles), crammed into an overstuffed theater and FINALLY watched the movie.

      This is why I don't watch movies on the big screen anymore. Unless it is something that I HAVE TO SEE RIGHT FRIGGIN NOW, I wait for the DVD. And I RENT that DVD, I don't buy it. Or I buy it used from the video store. So Hollywood loses every opportunity at having my money.

      • my experience (Score:3, Interesting)

        by adpowers (153922)
        A year and a half ago some friends convinced me to go see The Village with them as a group. We went to a Regal Cinemas, one of those huge multiplex deals. Anyway, we get there a little early so we can get seats together and everything. It had been a while since I'd seen a movie in the theatre, so I didn't know about "The 20" yet. The slideshow was bad enough, now they are playing 20 minutes of video (and sound) commercials before the show! Not only that, but these and the trailers are all spoilers for other
      • Re:Agreed (Score:5, Funny)

        by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:07PM (#14888216) Homepage
        And then for the punchline, you had to sit through "I, Robot."
  • Bwahaha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordSnooty (853791) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:45PM (#14887073)
    FTFA: "We are exploring new ways to reach more people using innovative methods of communication and distribution."

    I'm sure they are, but their big problem is that we already explored all that five years ago. Time to catch up, Hollywood, and fast!
    • For me, not only has the quality of movies been found lacking, but my standards have been raised a bit on the types of movies I will see in the theatre. In order to justify the cost, it has to be a movie I think I will REALLY like that's subject matter is something I think will really matter to me. "V for Vendetta" will probably be the first movie I see in the theatre since "Serenity" because of it's subject matter.

      The nail in the coffin though (as it were), is the Netflix and Blockbuster DVDs by mail
  • by crimethinker (721591) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:45PM (#14887074)
    I'm shocked that the MPAA spokesweasel didn't blame piracy. Shocked, I tell you.

    And yes, I'll agree with the submitter's remarks - most movies nowadays are pure shite, little more than CGI thrown everywhere to try to cover a pathetic script. Oh, and don't forget the half-hour of commercials before the movie, too. And they always seem to start the commercials at the published start time. So you arrive half an hour late, trying to skip the commercials, and *this* movie was the one with only 15 minutes of crap in front of it.

    I wait for the DVD nowadays. Cheaper, too.

    -paul

  • Home Theaters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by expressovi (952511) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:45PM (#14887075)
    With the sale of home theaters on the rise I think that can also attribute to some of the loss. Many people I know who buy a home theater say they now have no reason to go the theater. I just got mine and I always ask why go out?
  • Correction... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joe5678 (135227) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:47PM (#14887088)
    About 40 percent of the decline came from the U.S.


    Come on, it's in the first sentence of the article. 40 percent of the 23 billion dollars in total sales was in the US, not 40 percent of the decline.

    A misleading summary, here on slashdot, I'm as shocked as the rest of you...
  • CowboyNeal (Score:5, Funny)

    by anim8 (109631) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:50PM (#14887104)
    "It's been a while since a film warranted spending the money to watch it in a room full of strangers."

    If dropping a ten-spot and spending 3hrs in a theater to see King Kong on the big screen doesn't appeal to you then you are beyond hope.

    But I can understand your fear of seeing 'Brokeback Mountain' with others around. I mean with a name like CowboyKneel ...
  • Summary inaccurate! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jerry Coffin (824726) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:50PM (#14887105)
    According to the summary, the US was responsible for 40% of the drop. According to the story, the US was respnosible for 40% of the sales. The story says sales dropped 6% in the US but 7.9% worldwide -- so the US was actually responsible for about well under 40% of the drop.

    OTOH, whether it's 6% or 8% doesn't make all that much difference in the end -- this is something like the fifth year running that movie sales have dropped...

  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:51PM (#14887114)
    In a movie theater, no matter where I sit, the loudest person in the theater always ends up sitting next to me. You'd think with my "I've killed already tonight, and you're next" countenance, people would stay away, but I seem to attract the crazies.

    Prime examples:

    In that crappy Sky Captain movie, when the flying ships dive straight into the water, this guy next to me starts shouting "THAT DEFIES THE LAWS OF PHYSICS!!"

    In that crappy Manchurian Candidate remake, some dumb bitch sits down right next to me, babbling through the whole movie. When Meryl Streep goes into a long speech, this woman starts shouting "MERYL STREEP AT HER BEST!!"

    During Batman Begins, some fat ass was munching down bag after bag of chips right next to me. He'd finish a bad, then extend his hand out and drop the bag on the floor, and go for another. Then he'd start belching, or fall asleep and snore really loud.

    What the hell is it with these people?? Can't they see that I want to watch my crappy movies in peace??
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:10PM (#14887251)
      During Batman Begins, some fat ass was munching down bag after bag of chips right next to me. He'd finish a bad, then extend his hand out and drop the bag on the floor, and go for another. Then he'd start belching, or fall asleep and snore really loud.

      That reminds me of the time I went to see Batman Begins .. I sat next to this guy who looked like he'd killed already and like I was to be next. I got so nervous I kept eating bags and bags of chips. As it turns out this happened to cause gas and I couldn't help but belch ..plus i thought maybe it'll make him go away .. well .. when that didnt work .. I just decided to fall asleep.
    • In a movie theater, no matter where I sit, the loudest person in the theater always ends up sitting next to me.

      Well, next time teach her a lesson and leave the bitch at home.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:52PM (#14887122) Journal
    Box Office sales dropped.

    What happened to DVD sales?
  • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:53PM (#14887130)
    I only go to movies that have a very large visual or audio appeal, or something I really want to see. Or I am really bored. Why??
    • Kids go to matinees. Being in the same theaters as a bunch of rug rats suck.
    • Evening shows cost $9 (or more). Have to get a keg o'Icee, another $4.
    • Have to go with daughter or girlfriend, and pay for their move and stuff. Another $13-$18. Total so far, around $30.
    • Netflix costs less than $20/month and the food is a lot cheaper, and I can drink beer or tequila instead of an Icee.
    Just because I can afford $30/week to go to a movie, doesn't mean I want to pay it.
  • by futuresheep (531366) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:54PM (#14887133) Journal
    It costs me close to $70.00 by the time I'm done with paying for:

    *Babysitting
    *Parking
    *Ticket
    *Crap to eat

    It costs me approx. $15.00 for a DVD.

    To add to that my home theater looks and sounds great, the seats are more comfortable, we can pee when we want, and the drinks are a hell of a lot cheaper. We haven't been to a theater in over three years now when before the munchkin we used to go at least once a month. Sure, there was the initial investment in the home theater, but we're past breaking even on that now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:56PM (#14887147)
    As Roger Ebert pointed out [suntimes.com], the "Box Office Slump" is an myth. 2005 Box Office sales only appear down when compared to 2004, because 2004 saw the release of "The Passion of the Christ", which brought thousands of customers who otherwise do not visit the movie theaters.

    The fact is, 2005 was the second or third best year for film revenue in history.

    --
    N
    • by Maniacal (12626) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:08PM (#14887238)
      The Slashdot editors are nice enough to post a non-story about movie theaters/revenues/profits/etc. so that we can rant about prices of tickes/snacks/parking/etc. and brag about the components in our home theaters and you have to come along and screw it all up by presenting facts. Where to you get off buddy? Now what the hell am I gonna rant about? Did you see the front page? There aren't any articles about how Linux isn't ready for the desktop. There are any columns about Windows out performing Linux in a recent benchmark.

      From now on just keep your facts to yourself.

      BTW, mod parent up. Sounds like he hit the nail on the head
  • by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:58PM (#14887163) Journal
    According to the film critics Ebert and Roeper, it's their opinion that there was a bump in attendance over the last few years for movies like The Lord of Rings and Spider-Man/2 where fans would see the films mutiple times. Let's face it, there were some real block busters that came out in recent years like the LOTR trilogy, Spider-Man 2, Shrek 2, The Passion of the Christ, Finding Nemo, Stealth, The Dukes of Hazzard, etc. The Passion of the Christ alone made something $360 million dollars. The only real block busters this year seem to be Superman Returns and X3, so expect more tearful news from the movies studios around the same time next year.

    There are just going to be some years were attendance exceeds normal growth due to the popularity of certain movies.
    • Let's face it, there were some real block busters that came out in recent years like the LOTR trilogy, Spider-Man 2, Shrek 2, The Passion of the Christ, Finding Nemo, Stealth, The Dukes of Hazzard, etc.

      You mean the Stealth with a budget of approximately $130 million and a box-office gross of just $32,116,746 [boxofficemojo.com]? I don't think that exactly qualifies as a 'blockbuster'...

  • by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle@hotm ... com minus author> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:02PM (#14887194) Homepage
    ...Because (no particular order):

    - Really expensive! (Ticket are $9.25 for adults! Are you kidding me?)
    - Really expensive snacks ($4 for a Coke? Fuck You Cineplex!)
    - Standing in a painfully long line to be gouged for your ticket.
    - Standing in a painfully long line to be gouged for snacks.
    - The arsehole that won't turn his cell-phone off until he "remembers" when it rings at the most tense moment in the movie.
    - The other arsehole whose phone is on vibrate, but who answers and talks as he walks out of the theatre.
    - Spoiled suburban brats dropped off at the theatre instead of the hiring a babysitter who throw things, talk, and generally distract from the picture.
    - That unidentifiable sticky substance on the floor that could be spilled Coke... Or any number of other unpleasant alternatives, each indistinguishable from the next in the dark. ...and of course, so many movies suck blatant ass these days that I can't possibly justify it.
  • Suck? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:06PM (#14887221) Homepage Journal
    Sure, lots of movies suck. I'll even concede that movies suck more than they used to. But there have always been a lot of sucky movies that did well. I mean, during the 70s, they made a whole string of movies with "Airport" in the title, all of which made money!

    The main reason nobody's going to the movies: they've found other ways to entertain themselves. There's DVDs of course (I have a two-year backlog in my NetFlix queue!), and TV. But I think people are just generally branching out more. Book clubs are popular, and museum attendance is at all-time high. Hey, lots of folks are amusing themselves by creating their own content, in the form of blogs, podcasts, and now video podcasts. How can Hollywood compete with that?

  • Mashed Potato Cinema (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mundocani (99058) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:28PM (#14887414)
    I was floored when the MPAA president tried promoting moving theater attendance during Sunday's awards by espousing the virtues of viewing a movie with a group of strangers brought together by a common cause (is watching a movie really a cause?). Does he really believe his own crap? When was the last time he even saw a movie with the general public instead of in a plush private theater ahead of its general release date? I, for one, am not a big fan of paying a fortune to fight with strangers for a decent seat only to have to put up with chatter and cell phones throughout the film. I'm certainly not building mashed potato cinemas at the dinner table along with thousands of others who will find themselves also drawn to this mysterious force bringing us all together to watch some hollywood shovelware.
  • by kitzilla (266382) <paperfrog@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:56PM (#14887580) Homepage Journal
    ... is that we're not our parents.

    On the whole, I'm betting post-boomers are less "social" and far more likely to be comfortably entertained at home. We're quite comfortable with our kick-ass flat-screen monitors, thanks, and our sound systems beat those our parents senseless.

    We don't NEED big theatre screens. We rarely dress to go out. Our popcorn comes from the microwave, not a $4.00 carboard bucket. And if we want to be in a roomful of strangers, there are all those IRC channels to choose from ...

    I thought the MPAA's pitch that "nothing beats the theatre experience" we heard at the Oscars was simply pathetic. Please don't tell me what I like, Mr. Hollywood. Let me tell you:

    I want downloadable movies. I want them as soon as possible to release. I'll pay.

    Oh -- and more sex, please. I'll take that over cartoonish, numbing gore and violence. But that's just me.

  • by fahrvergnugen (228539) <fahrv@hotmail. c o m> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:57PM (#14887590) Homepage
    It's not about the quality of the films available. The films are about as good as they've always been, to be honest. That is to say, they're shit, but they're entertaining, so I'll keep going.

    It's the theater-going experience itself that has become intolerable. I'd go back to the movies in a heartbeat if I knew of a theater that had the following policies:

    1) Theater owners need to hire large, hardass, bouncer-type stone cold ushers. If you talk, you're out. Cell phone? Out. Laser pointer? Out. Kick the seat in front of you? Out. Smartass who yells comments, thinking he's the next Joel Robinson or Mike Nelson? Out. If you're bothering the people around you in any way, instead of watching the film quietly or respectfully (or making out quietly, that's always cool by me), then you're out on your ass, no refund, and cry me a fucking river.

    2) Theater owners must enforce the MPAA ratings. Don't let kids buy tickets for The Shaggy Dog and then sneak into Saw II. They ruin it. Check IDs at the box office, and check tickets at the door of the auditorium, and bingo, no more problem. I tried to see the Exorcist re-release 5 years ago, and it was ruined by a theater full of teenagers who were all holding tickets to see the latest g-rated insult to IQs over 50. I haven't seen a horror film in the theater since.

    3) Theater owners must stop showing advertisements before a film starts for products that are not other films. People resent paying $12 to be a captive audience for 30 minutes of television commercials.

    Bonus un-necessary but IT WOULD BE AWESOME policies:

    4) Theater audiences must SHUT THE FUCK UP. In the last ten years or so, I've noticed a disturbing trend. Audiences seem no longer content to just laugh at the funny parts or cry at the sad parts. They now must treat a film as if someone is filming a sitcom, and they are part of the live studio audience. Here's a news flash, people: IT'S A FUCKING MOVIE. IT CAN'T HEAR YOU. Stop clapping and cheering when the Warner Brothers logo shows up at the beginning of the next Batman film. Stop applauding when Neo beats down Agent Smith. Definitely STOP GIVING THE CREDITS A STANDING OVATION. What, are you fucking retarded or something? What the hell is wrong with you people?

    3) A liquor license, even just wine-beer, for R-rated evening showings after 8pm. I'd love to be able to drink a cold one while I'm watching a movie in a room full of grownups. I already have a local theater that does this with second-run films, but I'd love it if I could get this kind of service in a first-run show with a kick-ass sound system.
  • by Macdude (23507) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @08:14PM (#14887685)
    Most movies made during any one year have always sucked. It's not the suckyness of the movies, it that for the price of:
      - parking
      - the tickets
      - the $4 small bags of popcorn
      - the $3 box of raisinettes
      - the $5 cokes
    I can buy a DVD, get a couple of pizza's delivered, open a bottle of wine (or a couple of beers), nuke a bag of popcorn and enjoy the movie on my schedule in a room with comfortable chairs that have lots of leg room, floors that aren't sticky and covered with garbage, a room without noisy assholes talking on their cell phones, stupid people constantly asking their friends "what did he say?" and "who's that?", a speaker system where the bass isn't being over driven and the center channel speakers aren't blown, a place where I don't have to sit through 15 to 30 minutes of commercials before the movie starts and if I have to get up in the middle I can pause the damn thing.

    I don't go to the theater because the theater experience sucks.

    In the past people went to the movies because it was an event, they looked forward to it for days or weeks ahead of time. Everyone was there to enjoy and drink-in the experience. Now we go to the movies because we don't have anything better to do.
  • by layer3switch (783864) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @08:52PM (#14887886)
    The story of a man... will change everything... from a decadent time... a war torn nation... love for his country... BUT it will never be the same...

    blah blah

    Simple fact is that movie-going is no longer a past time activity. It's becoming more and more a privilege to be entertained rather than being entertainment for the common man/woman/child/old people.

    I can take the crowded theater, high price of pop corn, sticky floor, crappy seat, and the guy/gal sitting behind me talking on the phone. However what I cannot take are;

    1) treated like 2nd class citizen with empty center seats for higher prices
    2) double and triple gated entrances to theater seating, treating everyone like little kids sneaking into movies
    3) "Piracy is illegal" message then FBI Warning right after, treating everyone like criminals or just plain ignorant
    4) Remake of Remake of Remake of another Remake of the original from 1942
    5) high price tickets forcing me to make a decision between films

    Going to movies used to be "entertainment", a mindless fun and/or enlightment, now it's a chore, a responsibility, a time taking investment.

    I used to go to movies every week, watching at least 1 or 2 movies (paying every penny), regardless of its critical acclaim from so called "experts". Now, first I have to check out box office number and reviews (watch what's worth money).

    Then I have to put up with checking with 2 to 3 different ticket checkers to get into the seat. If that is not enough, now I have to put up with long public annoucements and commercials that tells me "stealing is bad" message. Ironically yet another message telling me to buy food and drink with highway robbery prices.

    If insulting is the way to inform the public, then this one tops the chart. A bright red seats in the center of theater for even higher price with its own popcorn and drink stand. Even more insulting when those seats are totally empty.

    Especially ironic when the movie we are watching is either about main characters being compassionate criminal, murderer, or rebel.

    The movies portays breaking the rule and going against authority is cool, and movie threater chains to label movie-goers with 2nd class ignorant citizens is perfectly fine, but when the box office doesn't do well, it's not entirely because movie sucks, maybe and MAYBE people like myself don't want to be in such place. After all, if I'm going to be insulted and annoyed, I rather be insulted and annoyed at home watching the movie on cable or DVD.
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @09:05PM (#14887945)
    I've taken a hit from the on-demand home theater crack pipe and i'm hooked. I no longer want to sit in a room with noisy people and sticky floors eating an $8.00 bucket of stale popcorn. Now I enjoy movies on-demand on my 56" DLP with my Boston Acoustics system, comfy couches, and a $1.00 bag of popcorn that isn't stale.

    Why would I pay 4 to 6 times as much to sit in that hell-hole called a movie theater?

    -ted
  • by snStarter (212765) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @09:08PM (#14887969)
    I like movies. But my wife and I go to fewer and fewer each year.

    Why?

    Well the huge drop in our attendence this year was because every movie house around us now shows 20 minutes of video commercials before the lights dim and the trailers (usually 6) begin.

    I like to sit in the theatre and talk to my wife or the people we're with. You can't do that over the damn TV being projected onto the screen. It's awful and I hate it.

    Blend in people who think they can talk as if they were in their own living room, text message, talk on their cell phones, get up three or four times for more soda/popcorn/etc, and you have a truly wretched experience. I won't even MENTION kids crying and throwing things. I don't go when the high schoolers go - that's even worse.

    So mostly it's Netflix and a very good widescreen TV instead of the movies.

    I'm SICK and FUCKING TIRED of being endlessly marketed to. I don't need surround-sound tunes blared at me, crap on the screen. I have a mind, I like the people I go to movies with, I want to enjoy them until the lights fade and a new world unrolls on the screen.

  • Seriously.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @09:24PM (#14888033) Homepage
    I was thinking about watching a movie the other day. Since I didn't have anything particular in mind, I went to imdb.com to see what looked good. This is what I found about the top 10 movies.

    1. Family Reunion 2.8/10 Family Comedy/Drama (Worst 100: #61)
    2. 16 Blocks 6.8/10 Crime/Drama/Thriller
    3. Eight Below 7.4/10 Family Adventure
    4. Ultraviolet 4.0/10 Superhero/SciFi/Something
    5. Aquamarine 2.0/10 Kid's Comedy
    6. The Pink Panther 4.7/10 Family Comedy
    7. Block Party 7.6/10 Documentary/Real Event
    8. Date Movie 2.8/10 Comedy (Worst 100: #57)
    9. Curious George 6.9/10 Family Comedy
    10. Firewall 6.0/10 Crime/Drama/Thriller

    Two of the lowest 100 rated movies ever.

    I really have no desire to see any of those movies, at least not in the theater. I'm not really interested in the family/kids movies, so that rules out half of them. I'd rather watch Dave Chapelle's Block Party on video so I can skip music I might not like. I'm not going to watch a movie rated below 5, so that rules out Date Movie and Ultraviolet. That leaves Firewall (and we all know how accurate the technical aspects of THAT movie are gonna be) and 16 Blocks/The Gauntlet/Escape From NY/LA/Whatever. Yeah... pass.
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:08PM (#14888220) Homepage
    Pixar didn't release anything to theaters in 2005. Of course revenue is down.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:10PM (#14888236)
    Even movies I like are so LOUD now that I get a headache while wearing ear plugs.

    I don't mind audience noise related to the movie. I do mind cell phone conversations, crying babies, and teens messing around making noise unrelated to the movie.

    I went to a movie about 3 months ago- there were maybe four of us in the theatre and it was super loud- I asked the manager to turn down the sound and she -refused- and gave me back my money rather than turn it down to a reasonable level.

    Finally- the commercial load is absurd. I'm paying good money and if I want a decent seat I -must- sit through 15 to 20 minutes of commercials. It irritates the hell out of me. Even worse is obvious product placement. The second I see them, it breaks me out of my suspension of disbelief and pisses me off unless the movie is poking fun at product placement.

    The combination of these are why my movie going has dropped from 20-30 movies a year to 3 to 4 movies a year. It's just not worth it- there is too much other entertainment to engage in vs getting pissed off at being treated so poorly by Hollywood's grasping after every last dime of revenue.
  • by acomj (20611) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:37PM (#14888364) Homepage
    You can now buy TV shows on DVD. If you get one season of a TV show thats probably 10+ hours of viewing. It takes time to watch those shows, times you aren't spending at the movies.

    That and the movie going experience is terrible.
  • quality of movies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by porkface (562081) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:47PM (#14888648) Journal
    It will always be easy to point to specific movies and say that movies today suck. But that is a lie. There have been at least a dozen or two top notch, unique movies that even the sharpest critics rate above 8/10 or call "great movies" in each of the last 4 years.

    Things were really dry prior to the huge upsurge in piracy, but just because the marketing machines are pumping crap, there's no excuse for any claim that movies today suck. That's just something people who haven't been paying attention say because it used to be blaringly true.
  • by ajv (4061) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:43AM (#14888801) Homepage
    In Australia, we have Gold Class Theatres, run by Village Cinemas. They've really thought about what it is to go see a film as an adult, and it really works. Most of the time, the Gold Class sessions are full, so it is working.

    You book your seat online before arriving, so you know where you're going to sit, and no queues. You can pick up your ticket from an ATM style thing out the front if you want to get it quickly, or you can go in and pick it up whilst you're ordering your goodies for the film.

    You can order hot food, pizzas, cakes (including creme brulee and lemon tarts... even choc top ice creams - but adult flavors like rum n raison and dark chocolate), champagne, wine, beer, decent cafe quality coffee, coke (if you must) to be delivered to you seat during the film, which is placed on a little table between every two seats... which has an inbuilt ice bucket. As there's so few seats, the waiters do not have to lean over someone else or squeeze past hundreds of others to give you your stuff.

    They have 30 or so reclining armchairs in a small theater with a smallish screen, but top notch acoustics and audio gear, usually not too loud (although Return to the King was painfully loud).

    There's heaps of space between you and the next person in any direction. Even if you're laying down flat and Sideshow Bob is in front of you, you can still see the screen.

    As the tickets cost $25, and the food aint cheap, it keeps the plebs and kids away for the most part. Sure I spend like $60 or $70 going out to see a film, but it's been an enjoyable experience, no brats, great food and beverages and I've felt like I got my money's worth.

    So quit whining about crap theaters, and ask for your own Gold Class theaters!

    Now if only they make more films like Amerlie and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and less shit like Date Movie, I'd be inclined to go to Gold Class more often.
  • It's Not the Movies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Michael_Burton (608237) <michaelburton@brainrow.com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @01:44AM (#14888970) Homepage

    During my college days, way back in the 1970s, I used to go to one of the local movie theaters a couple times a week. One was what we called a "repertory theater." They showed a frequently-changing bill with classic old movies interspersed with more recent films. I saw a lot of great films, and became a real movie buff. I often dragged friends along with me to see movies I really loved.

    Eventually the theater changed hands. The last time I went there, the manager blocked my way to the ticket booth. I was carrying my book bag because I'd just got off work. He insisted that I was taking outside food into the theater -- something I had never done -- and refused to let me, or the friend I had with me, buy tickets. I never went back, and within a year or two, the theater was sold and converted into a restaurant. It's said that the sale included a restrictive covenant barring the new owner, or any future owner, from ever converting the building back into a theater.

    I still went to movies at other theaters, but early in the '80s some theaters started interspersing commercials among the coming attractions. That practice angered me so much that, whenever a theater showed a commercial, I would shout, "Boo! No commercials!" loudly enough to be heard and understood in the projection booth. Often this would get a small round of applause. I would then go out and get my money back, and go home without seeing the movie. This became frustrating after a while. At some point in the mid-80s, I gave up. For about ten years, I never went to a movie theater.

    About ten years ago, a new theater opened near here, with big screens, great sound systems, and stadium seating, and I tried again. I was very happy to see that they were not showing the commercials that had driven me out of the theaters years earlier, and I started going to movies again.

    A few years ago, the commercials came back. Nobody seemed to mind except me. The last time I tried to see a movie at that theater, they were playing an endless string of commercials, interrupted only when the movie started. (Actually, the commercials, continued playing for a few seconds after the actual program started.) I haven't been back to that theater, either. It's going to make one enormous restaurant, I must say.

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